Vietnam, Singapore cherish growing 50-year ties
Over the past 50 years, Vietnam and Singapore have been enjoying a thriving partnership with great achievements in all fields.
President Vo Van Thuong (R) meets with Singaporean President Halimah Yacob in London on May 5, 2023 during his trip to attend the coronation of King Charles III__ Photo: VNA

Over the past 50 years, Vietnam and Singapore have been enjoying a thriving partnership with great achievements in all fields.

Growing strategic partnership

Vietnam and Singapore set up their bilateral diplomatic relations on August 1, 1973, and this makes Singapore become one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. In the 1990s, the bilateral ties expanded strongly, especially after Vietnam became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995.

In 2013, Singapore became one of the first ASEAN member countries to set up a strategic partnership with Vietnam, opening up a new era in bilateral ties with win-win cooperation and mutual respect and trust. The bilateral ties have been deepened in five pillars and expanded to other fields, along with close coordination at international and multilateral forums.

Bilateral collaboration through Party, State, Government and parliament channels as well as in specific sectors has been continuously strengthened.

Over the recent years, despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have maintained delegation exchanges and meetings at high and all levels, including Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s official visit in February 2023, during which the two sides agreed to continue to foster political trust through increasing high-level exchanges and meetings as well as effective implementing bilateral cooperation mechanisms and agreements.

Many cooperation deals were signed during the visit, including a memorandum of understanding on bilateral partnership in digital economy and green economy, creating a new motivation for bilateral ties in the time to come.

Along with bilateral cooperation, the two sides have coordinated closely at regional and international forums, contributing to promoting regional linkage and connectivity, narrowing the development gap and enhancing the capacity to deal with emerging challenges, thus contributing to efforts to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

The two countries have worked closely together within the ASEAN to improve the role and position of both sides in the grouping as well as in the world, maintaining the central role of the association in the regional security architecture.

Bilateral collaboration in defense-security has been strengthened with regular high-level exchanges and existing dialogues and annual cooperation mechanisms. The two countries have also shared viewpoints on strategic security issues in the region, including that on the East Sea, while protecting the common stance of the ASEAN for peace and security in the region.

Economic-trade cooperation – highlight in bilateral ties

Together with sound political relations, bilateral economic, trade and have been promoted extensively and intensively. Economic-trade cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore is one of the model partnership in Southeast Asia.

Despite the pandemic impacts, two-way trade increased 23.3 percent year on year to USD 8.3 billion in 2021, and 10 percent to over USD 9 billion in 2022.

Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs) are a symbol of economic cooperation between the two countries__Photo: VNA

Vietnam and Singapore have supplementary economic structures, and both are members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

During then President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Singapore in February 2022, the two sides signed five cooperation deals among ministries and agencies, along with the nearly 30 agreements among localities and businesses with a total value of nearly USD 11 billion.

As of the end of June, Singapore had been the largest ASEAN investor in Vietnam and the second among the 143 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 3,200 valid projects worth USD 73.4 billion.

Singaporean investors have been present in 51 out of the 63 cities and provinces across Vietnam, mostly in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Bac Ninh, focusing on sectors of manufacturing and processing; real estate; production and distribution of electricity, gas, water, and air conditioners.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has run 150 projects in Singapore with a total value of USD 700 million, mostly in science-technology, retail and wholesale, and information and communications.

The Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs) are a symbol of economic cooperation between the two countries. Currently, there are 12 VSIPs in nine provinces and cities of Vietnam. Operating VSIPs have a high occupancy rate (over 83 percent), attracting USD 17.6 billion in total investment capital, and creating jobs for nearly 300,000 direct workers.

Expanding cooperation areas

Regarding transport cooperation, Singapore is one of the most important aviation markets of Vietnam, being the sixth largest source of passengers as of 2019. After a disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnamese and Singaporean airlines have resumed regular commercial flights between the two countries, supporting the recovery of bilateral tourism cooperation and contributing to the post-pandemic recovery in both countries.

At the same time, the two sides have also strengthened partnership in finance-banking, education-training, and natural resources-environment.

They have worked closely in COVID-19 prevention and control. Right after the outbreak of the pandemic, Singapore was one of the first ASEAN members to provide Vietnam with medical supplies and equipment. In March 2020, Temasek Foundation of Singapore presented the Vietnamese Ministry of Health with 100 respirators, along with two testing machines and quick test kids. In September 2021, Singapore provided Vietnam with medical equipment worth nearly USD 5 million.

During the complicated COVID-19 period in Singapore, the National Assembly of Vietnam supported Singapore with medical masks, while Vingroup Group presented the Singapore Government with 200 respirators manufactured in Vietnam with US’s Medtronic technology.

Currently, about 13,000 Vietnamese people are living in Singapore, acting as bridges for the friendship between the two nations.-(VNA/VLLF)

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